“There’s nothing wrong with you.” “Your only problem is that you’re fat and lazy.” “You’re too pretty to be sick!” “You brought this on yourself. Your pain is your fault.” These are some of the surprising, disturbing and bizarre things that women were told by their doctors, according to an online survey of over 2,400 women in chronic pain conducted by National Pain Report.
Three out of four women said they were told at least once by a doctor that they’d have to learn to live with their pain. Over half said a doctor had told them they didn’t know what was wrong with them.
In their written comments, many women indicated their doctors were often frustrated by their inability to diagnose and treat their pain.
- “Your symptoms don’t make sense or have any relation to your condition.”
- “You know there’s no cure for the illness you think you have, so why bother seeing a specialist to get a diagnosis?”
Other women said they were belittled or even mocked by doctors – who often dismissed their pain as imaginary or a ruse to get narcotic painkillers.
- “I don’t want to hear anything more about fibromyalgia. It’s not real.”
- You are crazy, nothing is wrong with you.”
Then there were the unconventional suggestions – some of them bizarre – that doctors had for women to relieve their pain.
- “You can use thoughts to change your gene expression and cure yourself.”
- “You have a broken spirit, try going to church.”
Some women feel their doctors focus too often on their appearance – using that to judge the degree of pain they were in.
- “You are too pretty to have so many problems.”
Several women learned coping strategies to deal with this. Some started bringing their husbands and boyfriends to their doctor’s appointments. Others would purposely not “dress up” when they saw a doctor in order to be taken more seriously.
It’s well known that a positive attitude and good social support is essential for minimizing chronic pain, so these statements from doctors would definitely worsen in by battering a woman’s self-image and self-respect. Often, such encounters with doctors leave pain patients not only with under-treatment of their pain, but also leave them feeling worse.
Many of us pain patients leave our appointments feeling more hopeless than hopeful, and more helpless than helped.
Not all of the comments about physicians were negative. Several women said they were very happy with their current doctor, but finding the right one was often a case of trial and error.
See the complete survey results at http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/women-in-pain-survey-results-8824686.html